Last night, just before I went to bed, I shook myself out of my bleary-eyed state and wandered around the house, checking the locks on my doors, using bolts that usually make my house seem like Fort Knox (the old lady who lived in my house previously was a huge fan of the bolt system, HUGE).
Why did I do this, you ask?
I think the answer to that is pretty clear. Despite living miles away in average-sized town in Cheshire, I was frightened. I was frightened of the mobs that had taken London by the throat. I was frightened that it would happen here too. I was frightened for those in the thick of it. I was just frightened.
I looked out of my front door at the still of my little street and could still see the images of destruction that were all over my television screen just moments before. It made me feel sick (and not just because I’d been off that day with a tummy bug).
I’ve always been a bit of a country lass at heart. My favourite time of the year is the local horticultural show, where I can try and squeeze my humungous calves into wellies and drink cider all day, whilst looking at some prize cows. Totally floats my boat. I come from a small village. A village that petitioned against a Tesco, in case it ruined our local economy. We’re cool like that. Even though I now live in the neighbouring town (because house prices in my slice of heaven are extortionate) I’m still that naive girl who likes a good cow contest. You can’t take that away from me. I’ll keep my rose-tinted glasses thank you. Things are much nicer from my point of view.
It wasn’t until I went to university that I learnt that not everyone’s parents are still married and have two cars and a dog and a summer holiday every year. I was lucky. My accent earnt me the Posh title, while sober obviously. But still, I learnt a lot. I understood that murder wasn’t just a thing that happened in the movies. I learnt that people liked having promiscuous sex. And I learnt that the rape alarm that was handed to me in Freshers Week was probably best kept close to hand, rather than setting it off to annoy hungover housemates.
I thought I knew what the world was like, but, in reality, I haven’t a fucking clue.
What has happened, primarily in London, but also in Birmingham, Bristol, Liverpool and scarily even perhaps my beloved Manchester too, frightens me to the bone. I would never, not even for a second, even consider looting a store or torching it to the ground. It just wouldn’t even occur to me.
I’ve heard quotes of the rioters, blaming “rich people.” I’m by no means rich. In fact, a mortgage has left me pretty skint, in all honesty. But I don’t take it out on society. If I want more money, I have to work harder. If I want justice, the wimp inside me would probably write a letter as I bloody hate confrontation. But, to quote someone wise from Twitter:
I saw a clip of a boy who was bleeding on the ground. Some people came over to help him up and I found myself thinking: “Thank GOD, some humanity.” They then proceeded to mug him and leave him bleeding and bewildered. Talk about kicking someone when they are down. I could not believe it.
When we were discussing it in the office. I found myself saying: “But surely that wouldn’t happen here?” Surely it can’t happen in this quiet, little area? Surely this isn’t normal? Surely these people are mad and have some sort of airborne disease that has turned them into actual idiots (I’m thinking 28 Days Later)? The wiser among us, and the more street-wise, told me that, in fact, it would. I felt a bit like someone had told me that Father Christmas wasn’t real. My cotton wool protection has been shed. My bubble popped. But I don’t want to let a tiny percent of society to stop myself in believing in people.
So I’m going to dust off my rose-tinted glasses. Stick them firmly on my nose. And hope that everything will be okay. I’m not going to hide from it, I’m just going to remind people that not everyone is an absolute plank. God, I’m so poetic. But the level of cheese in that last paragraph was getting a bit much.
A huge pat on the back to those involved in the clean up, picking up the pieces of the community.
A bucketload of sympathy for those who’s lives have been trampled on. Anything I say will sound false or completely innapropriate but I mean every word. I hope it gets better for you and YOU can find justice.
And to those at fault…